Stay: Capella, Goa

At Capella, curl up with a book by a palm-fringed courtyard.  
Goa Capella Hotel Baga
Capella is tastefully furnished, and impeccably maintained. Photo: Ayesha Bilimoria

It’s only a short drive from the bustle of Baga and yet Capella is a world apart. Nestled on a forested hill in Parra, the homestay combines Portuguese-style architecture, antique Parsi furnishings, and the culinary skills of Julie, the Goan cook, to create a sanctum where delicious slothfulness reigns supreme. It’s a welcome break from the honking, hollering crowds of Goa, but close enough to the ruckus and the beach, should you crave an athletic night out.

Capella feels like a homestay. It’s tastefully furnished, and impeccably maintained, but has the warmth and cosiness of a lived-in home. The walls bear old photos of the family, the couches are gently concaved, and there are bookshelves in every room—full of dog-eared books, many inscribed with intimate notes from aunts and friends. The living room, flanked by the bean-shaped pool on one side and the open, palm-filled courtyard, is my favourite space, and I spend much of my time sprawled on a planter’s chair in a corner, reading an Agatha Christie novel I found in my room.

Later, I chat with Ayesha, the spunky lady of the house, who is a fountain of information on Goan history, culture, and food. Over a scrumptious lunch of prawn curry and rice, she tells me about Bhatti Village, a no-menu local legend known for its pork amsol (stir-fried kokum-flavoured meat). I learn of Literati, a culture-vulture hotspot in Calangute, about an annual classical music concert held in the ruins of a church in Old Goa, and that the jackfruit and jambul (jamun) trees on Capella’s grounds are inhabited by magpie robins, golden-backed woodpeckers, and bulbuls. I meet the dogs: spirited Elsa and lazy Luca, friendly and greedy for attention.

Afternoons are for napping and evenings for drinks and conversation. I sip chilled beer by twilight chatting with another guest, a lady from Germany who has been travelling in India for the last three months. Guests at Capella help themselves to the bar cabinet—a gorgeous glass-fronted teakwood tallboy—and write down what they have consumed in the little “Honesty bar book”. We exchange travel notes, and talk well after dinner is done, eventually retreating to separate corners with our books and more drinks. I could just as easily imagine returning here with my girlfriends for a giggly weekend away.

This story first appeared in the December 2014 issue as “Browser’s Nook”.

The Guide

Accommodation Capella has three rooms. Frangipani is by the pool on the ground floor. The two suites, Magnolia and Heliconia, are on the first floor. Both have handsome four-poster beds and Mediterranean-inspired bathrooms with generous, mosaic bathtubs, perfect for an afternoon soak on a warm summer day. Room rates vary according to season. Low-season rates for doubles are between ₹5,000 and ₹6,000 (including breakfast), and in high season this runs from ₹5,500 to ₹6,900 (99234 59488, call between 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m.;  

Getting there Capella is in Parra, Bardez, 39 km/1 hour from Dabolim airport and 16 km/30 mins from Thivim Railway Station. Panjim and Morjim Beach are both about a 40-minute drive away while Baga is ten minutes away.


    Neha Sumitran is Nat Geo Traveller India's perpetually hungry Web Editor. She loves exploring food markets or better still, foraging for new kitchen ingredients. She hopes to have a farm near the mountains someday. She tweets and instagrams as @nehasumitran.

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